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BUS 201/302: Professional Prep: Home

A course guide for students taking BUS 201/302 or anyone needing to research a company and industry for an interview

Congratulations!  You've got the interview.  Now, you need to do some research on the company and their industry so you can make a good impression on the interviewers.  This guide will give you tips and pointers on doing basic company research so you can ask really good questions about the company during your interview.

What Should You Know?

* What product/service the company provides

* Current news about company/products

* SWOT Analysis (if available)

* General financial strength

* General industry information


Occupational Outlook Handbook

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a U.S. government website by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  "The OOH can help you find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations."

Alabama Labor Information

Alabama Department of Labor- Get lists of the top jobs in Alabama (or by region in Alabama). Or, see what jobs are expected to decline. Tons of career information on this site. Map of the Regions of Alabama

Start Here

First, find out if the company is: 

* publicly-held (sells stock on an exchange, like the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ) 

* non-profit organization (exists to benefit a cause, receives tax-exempt status)

* subsidiary (company that is at least 50% owned by another company)

* privately-held (does not sell stock on a stock exchange).


Why?  Because how the company is organized will usually determine how much information you can locate about it.  Publicly-held companies sell stock to shareholders, therefore they are required to provide information about their business to the public.  These are the easiest companies to research. 

Privately-held companies are not required to provide any information to the public about their business.  They can be the hardest companies to research.  Sometimes you may only find out contact information and the industry in which they operate.  Be aware that if you find revenue (sales) information for a privately-held company it is most likely an estimate that could be WAY off track.

It can be difficult to predict the amount of information you will be able to find about a nonprofit organization or a subsidiary.  Generally, you'll find less information than a public company, but maybe more than what you would find about a private company. 

It's also generally true that the bigger the company or organization, the greater likelihood that you will be able to find information about it. 

Nonporfit Organizations- Free website

The best place to look for information about a nonprofit organization is  Organizations have to file a Form 990 with the IRS.  This form provides very detailed information about programs, services and their financials.  Create a free account to get more information.

This company publishes business news from the 40 largest cities in the U.S., including the Birmingham Business Journal.  It is free for anyone to search.  However, some content is only available to paid subscribers.  It's a good site to search for local information on national companies or for information on private companies that doesn't always show up in the national press.

Mobile Public Library database

Mobile Public Library  - This will take you to the Mobile Public Library's list of business databases. Click on Mergent Intellect. 

Library Databases- Company Info

Library Databases- Industry Info